5 Things You Should Do During the First Week of School

The days are getting shorter, the temperature is slowly beginning to drop, and students everywhere are heading back to classes. The first few weeks of school can feel like the calm before the storm, but if you take advantage of the extra downtime and use it to get organized for the semester, you’ll be better prepared to handle the steadily increasing workload and you’ll definitely thank yourself later on. Whether you’re a senior who knows their way around campus, or a freshman trying to learn the ropes, these 8 back to school tips are sure to set you up for a successful year.

#1: Sit Down With Your Roommate(s) and Establish Ground Rules

If you’re settling in to one of 939 Western’s two bedroom or three bedroom apartments, you’ll have to figure out how to adjust to living with a roommate or two. Having roommates can be awesome, it’s like having a built in friend, study buddy and gym partner that’s never more than a knock or a shout away. That said, whether you’re moving in with your best friend, significant other, or an acquaintance you’re still trying to get to know, the key to making sure the environment is happy and stress-free for everyone is to sit down and have a talk about expectations. Household chores, quiet hours, bills and guests are all important topics to be discussed, and you should come up with a set of ground rules together to make sure there are no surprised throughout the year.

#2: Decorate Your Bedroom with Personal Touches

Living away from home can be tough, but putting in a little extra effort to set up your bedroom will go a long way in fighting off any feelings of homesickness that can settle in when you first move back to campus. Adding personal touches like photos and decorations that reflect your personality and interests will ensure that your bedroom feels like a comfortable space that you can retreat to after a long night grinding it out at the library. Decorating doesn’t have to be expensive either! If you’re willing to get creative, there are plenty of DIY ideas to take your space to the next level regardless of your budget. For some inspiration, check out our blog post 7 Easy DIY Projects to Brighten up Your Bedroom, and get to crafting!

#3: Introduce Yourself to Your Professors

Depending on your program and the size of your classes, you could very well be surrounded by a couple hundred other students. While it might seem easier to blend in, participating in class discussions and asking for clarification when you have questions will make sure that you’re getting the most out of your lectures, and will better prepare you for assignments and exams. One of the best ways to become more than just a number is to meet with your professors. During the first week, most professors will explain their office hours, or you can find them in the syllabus. Find the time to drop by, shake your professor’s hand, and introduce yourself – who you are, what interested you in the course, and what your goals are. They’ll admire the fact that you’re taking your education seriously, and will likely be more inclined to offer extra help should you need it later on.

#4: Buy, Order or Rent out Your Textbooks

Although you might not need to do much reading right off the bat, getting your textbooks early can save you time and money. Make note of the required textbooks for each of your classes during the first week, and then start comparing prices online and at your school’s bookstore. It’s no secret that textbooks can be expensive, but if you’re proactive you’re more likely to score a deal. Some bookstores offer used books at lower prices and rental programs that lend you the book for a small fee if you return it in good condition at the end of the semester. That said, these options tend to sell out quickly, so make sure you’re on the ball. Another option is buying your books online. Again, you can find used books on resale websites like Kijiji, or you can find new books at better prices if you’re willing to look around on Amazon.

#5: Seek out Opportunities to Get Involved

If you’re a returning student and a few years into your program, you might already be involved with various clubs, associations and teams, but the beginning of the semester is a great time to consider taking on a bigger role or trying out something new. Post-secondary education is about so much more than just school work, and getting involved on campus or within the community is a great way to enrich your experience. You’ll gain leadership and collaboration skills, build up your resume, and meet a ton of people you might normally get the chance to interact with. During the first week of school many student organizations hold demonstrations and information sessions on campus, so check them out and get involved – especially if you’re in your first year.

The beginning of the school year is always an exciting time. There are so many possibilities and opportunities to get out of your comfort zone and continue to grow as a young adult. By following these 5 tips to make the most of the first week, you’ll set the tone for a great semester.

Welcome back to school, 939ers!

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